With it appearing likely that Mario Götze will remain at Bayern Munich for one more season, either to prove his worth at Germany’s biggest club or to set up a free transfer next summer, Liverpool look set to miss out on their top attacking target of the summer. If so, they aren’t wasting time moving on to Plan B.
Reports from Portugal’s generally reliable A Bola claim that Liverpool have already made the approach for FC Porto’s versatile winger Yacine Brahimi. And they aren’t messing around. A Bola report that they have signalled to the Portuguese club that they are willing to pay a transfer fee similar to Brahimi’s €60M buyout clause.
At current exchange rates, that would mean £45M and that Brahimi would instantly become Liverpool’s new record signing. With it being reported Liverpool will only come "close" to his buyout, though, one can likely assume the Reds are seeking to make at least some of the amount contingent on performance based add-ons.
The base fee, though, would still likely top the £35M they paid for Andy Carroll in non-inflationary terms. It would certainly, if it went through, be a deal that signalled the end of any interest in Götze for this summer at the very least. It would also likely confirm that the club will be seeking to shift Christian Benteke to make room.
At 26 years of age and for such an eye-watering fee, Brahimi would arrive with massive expectations, and some will have concerns over his track record. Brahimi has spent the past two seasons with Porto, and when he arrived there in 2014—signed from Granada—he was only able to command a €6.5M transfer fee.
The fee was so low on account of the fact that until then, in four years at Rennes in France and Granada in Spain, Brahimi had scored just 12 goals and 10 assists in 117 appearances. He was a serviceable player able to fill in across the supporting band, but the Algerian international didn’t look set to blossom into a star.
As Porto, once could argue he has, making 85 appearances in all competitions in two seasons and scoring 21 goals and 21 assists along the way. The concern, naturally, will be that £45M remains an eye watering fee for that kind of a return and that Portugal’s Liga is a step down from France’s Ligue 1, never mind Spain’s La Liga.
On paper, a versatile winger entering his best years who has the stamina to play every match and hit double-digits in goals and assists is certainly an appealing proposition. And if A Bola are to be believed, Liverpool are driving hard to bring him in. If they do, though, the cost will be steep and there will be question marks.